Read & Respond week 4: Crowds and links

This week, we’ll be talking about connections: The in-person links that create crowds, and the digital ones that create, well, the Internet. Briggs talks specifically about “crowdsourcing;” the term “the wisdom of crowds” was popularized by James Surowiecki, but it’s been around for a while. Some take issue with the idea that crowds actually have any particular wisdom. Here’s a little tune on the subject from Nova:

Moving on to links and linking, consider some ideas from these posts:

Remember to respond to this post by 10a on Monday, February 2. Keep it concise, relevant, and don’t forget to integrate Briggs!

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25 Responses to Read & Respond week 4: Crowds and links

  1. Sara Wells says:

    To me, links are a way of crowdsourcing. Just as crowdsourcing is used to execute a task with more people who may not know what they’re doing than less but skilled people, so are links. We use tons of links every day, and we reference tweets by the ‘ordinary person’, Facebook posts from the ‘man on the street’ and also our own knowledge, meaning that when we link to these things in our everyday news, we are actually crowdsourcing.

    The video illustrates (in a very humorous way, may I add) that people thought crowdsourcing was crazy when it was first mentioned. And as the book mentioned, it is in some instances. They used the example of a crowd coming together to pick the number of gumballs in a jar (perfectly capable) and a crowd helping with brain surgery (no thanks).

    On to linking- yes, some people think that linking is the devil. It will take you away from the page! Oh no! As if I’m not going in-between ten pages and Twitter and Instagram and Facebook at once, anyway, when I’m reading my morning news. Incorporating them into a news piece builds your credibility. For example, if I didn’t use a lot of links in my blog, how would you know I wasn’t just making it up? The beauty of links is described when Briggs talks about Google- the only reason you visit it is to find a link, yet you always. come. back.

    I think this illustrates why, when talking about the issue of copyright as Thompson did, we don’t really need to worry. As long as we have ‘the link’, it’s easy to attribute your information. And unless you’re doing an editorial, you kind of have to. No one’s ever going to listen without links. People want more- and you can either be their source for that by providing links- or they can completely ignore your material, and find them elsewhere.

    One last thought- I don’t see how open-sourcing is any different than linking in your stories. Is it because you may ask for sources before you do your story? I was just a bit confused on that.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Nice point about crowdsourcing being a matter of scope – it depends on the subject (dinner recommendations versus medical diagnoses). Can you explain your question on open-sourcing a little further? I’m not following you on that one.

      • Sara Wells says:

        If I’m understanding it correctly, open sourcing is asking for sources before and then using them. While you are asking before and not just getting them yourself, isn’t it pretty much just linking still (when you write the story)? The way of getting it is different, but the way of writing is the same?

  2. paigeczyzewski says:

    It seems that nowadays it’s known that connections and experience that comes from connections are some of the most valuable tools for anyone whether they be searching for a job, or like we learned in Briggs’ reading this week, for finding sources and stories. I truly appreciated this chapter because that is a lesson I have learned quite well over the last few years in preparation for graduating college.

    The idea of out-sourcing is brilliant. While I do understand that sometimes the public responses just add clutter instead of helping to organize and increase information, I agree that often times, the public is more caught up on the situation than I am. Open-sourcing is also imperative to the media of today. It seems that there’s a situation and the conversation keeps building on it. I agree that certain blogs “remov[e] barriers for conversation (73),” because so many people comment and add their voice in that the conversation is always evolving. New theories and perspectives can come from anyone, anywhere, which is why I somewhat support pro-am journalism. Especially when content and facts are linked to other blogs and sites with differing opinions and proven facts, the public is a whole source-well of knowledge. However, Post made a valid point back in 1997: what if sites don’t want to be linked to other online publications? I feel that, that is super tricky because while links are fantastic for expanding the network, I think sites should have a right to choose whether or not they want to be connected with another because that’s their identity and what if the other site doesn’t agree or support similar views. Then again, once everything goes online, it’s public, so don’t those sites have a right to link up?

  3. dillondurst says:

    The use of links is absolutely necessary in today’s modern journalism – especially for freelance bloggers and other writers of that nature. One reason being the need for authenticity or reference. In the Briggs reading, Jeff Jarvis said, “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” I think this perfectly sums up how to use links. When I’m working on my weekly blog posts, I like to use a lot of links to reputable sites because I myself am not yet a reputable source.

    However, this starts a whole new discussion that David G. Post delved into in “The Link to Liability.” Some people/companies/news outlets don’t want their content appearing on a random/non-reputable outlet, and that’s completely understandable. I think the example Post uses of the mother posting a picture to honor her deceased daughter and then later finds it on “Babes on the Net” is a perfect example of this.

    Bill Thompson also brings up a noteworthy discussion with the lawsuit against The Pirate Bay. The website creates links to downloadable material such as audio, movies, etc., which the plaintiffs think is assisting in copyright infringement. However, Thompson brings up the point that just because a link is provided doesn’t necessarily mean that the site is suggesting its use. However, this brings up another issue with advertising and its revenue when readers are sent to different pages via links. Post’s example of Total.News.com and its “frame” that continuously allows the reader to view purchased advertising space is a good point as to why links can be dangerous.

    Lastly, as Briggs states in the reading, crowd sourcing and open-source reporting are crucial to today’s form of journalism because you need to connect with your readers and audience on a deeper level. Open-source reporting is interesting because it almost allows the readers/consumers to tell the story instead of the reporter, which is an interesting twist.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Great examples. That Jarvis quote in particular underscores Briggs’ “It’s not about you” point – you have strengths, and others have strengths, and linking acknowledges those.

  4. tmertins says:

    Crowdsourcing is a powerful tool because of what the collective mind can achieve. But as Briggs’ wrote, it has its limits. If I take a picture of an insect and post it to /r/whatsthisbug, only the informed readers and commenters are going to be able to identify the bug for me. When it comes to general knowledge, like how much of something there is or how many, the average answer will give a more accurate reading.

    Crowdsourcing for outcomes or predictions isn’t always correct either. Currently on ESPN.com, 53% of voters believe that the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl. Okay, bad example because it’s so close. But when WVU played Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, 93% of voters believed Oklahoma would win, and they did not.

    Bill Thompson writes about Pirate Bay being liable for linking to copyrighted content, very similar to how TotalNews came under fire. But isn’t that what Reddit does today? I can easily go to /r/worldnews for all the biggest world headlines without going to a specific news outlet. And that’s the power of links. Briggs talks about newspapers that link to open sources for the latest information to build an audience. Reddit has exploded in popularity in the past five years. They’ve built an audience from nothing but links to stories, videos, photos, and more.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      The Reddit example is an interesting one because you CAN get the day’s news there, yet that news came from news outlets. It’s definitely the power of links, but it also illustrates a potential pitfall: If the law changed, or if those news orgs dried up (say, from nobody visiting their sites), so too would the Reddit feed.

  5. sjl0693 says:

    I believe links are vital in today’s form of journalism for a couple of reasons. One reason is to add credibility to someone’s writing so that they can back up what they are saying rather than it appearing that they are making things up. This is especially important in blogs because the blogger uses links to other sources to show that they are credible and not just making up facts and statements.

    Another reason is the links allow multiple sites and sources to be connected which allows the readers to gain information from multiple outlets. As stated in this chapter of Briggs, crowdsourcing is important so that websites can understand what their readers want to learn about and they can focus on that to make the website better as a whole on a deeper level.

  6. “But in a world where one person can ask hundreds, or even thousands, of people to lean a hand with an investigation or data collection, crowd sourcing becomes a new powerful tool for reporting new.” –Briggs

    From the knowledge I’ve acquired as a public relations major, feedback is a key step when communicating through media channels. In the journalism world, crowdsourcing provides opportunities for online authors. Crowd funding (such as Kickstarter) is a perfect example that demonstrates the power of crowdsourcing. It to allows readers to get involved by donating and contributing to news coverage. Although public responses may be over whelming and chaotic, I feel like readers have a better grasp of what’s going on.

    No one wants to read an online publication posted by an uneducated author. Online readers want to see what inspires the author. I believe linking is a valuable form of evidence for journalists in the digital media channel. It’s reasonable that PUBLIC sites may or may not want to be connected to other online publications. Although linking can be a threat, I believe the Internet is open game.

  7. Renata Di Gregorio says:

    Crowdsourcing is valuable to journalism because it creates effective communication between individuals to make their collective voice louder and ideas more well-rounded. Links are a part of this because they encourage bringing in information from different sources as both the reader, who is encouraged to research further, and the journalist, for whom links are nearly necessary for credibility. Briggs discusses the usefulness of crowdsourcing in reporting and how the internet made it easy, “But in a world where one person can ask hundreds, or even thousands, of people to lend a hand with an investigation or data collection, crowdsourcing becomes a powerful new tool for reporting news,” (Briggs 70).

    The arms race idea in “The Link to Liability” David Post predicts and discusses between the New York Times and TotalNews would end in technological advancement similar to the way the internet sprung up in the first place: competition. I also think it is interesting that instead of going to lawyers to ban TotalNews’ framing activity altogether, the people who want to protect their websites turn to the computer experts that can create lines of code. That proves the value of this skill. I like this idea of wanting to outwit the competition and not solely win through a larger, complex legal body.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Good observation! By going to the coders instead of lawyers, those protecting websites are showing a preference for operating within the existing structure rather than appealing to outside authority. This (to me) suggests a desire to grow organically, via trial-and-error within the medium, rather than to have artificial standards imposed by another. Such standards are at times necessary, but avoiding them reminds me of advertisers’ preference for self-regulation over going to governing agencies such as the FTC.

  8. I love the idea of crowdsourcing, but it’s important to understand the faults and limits that come along with it. The Briggs book gives the great example of good crowdsourcing, like counting the number of gum balls in a jar, and the less than stellar times to turn to crowdsourcing, like brain surgery. I’m a huge fan of the online forum site, Reddit, which functions almost totally on crowdsourcing. I’m also a big fan of crowdsourcing for PR and Advertising. For example, NASA often invites social media users to tour their facilities and share information and photos from their visits. This maximizes whom they reach in in a quick and cost effective way.

    Many of these social media users also provide links to the things they see. In this instance, links are incredibly valuable and much appreciated by a reader. Honestly, I think very little about the financial implication of sharing links to an outside source, probably because I don’t get paid to write, but I can understand CNN’s apprehension to link to Fox News. From a blogging standpoint, though, links provide much needed explanation and accuracy in each post.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Any drawbacks with crowdsourcing? For example, it’s been demonstrated that today’s media consumers (online users possibly more so) have a tendency toward entertainment over information. Consider the concept of Wikigroaning, which is essentially the idea that the most detailed entries tend to be those that appeal to, well, white male nerds. Put another way, how valuable is crowdsourcing when most of the things the crowd cares about just aren’t that important?

  9. Crowdsourcing is an effective tool in journalism. It allows a journalist to connect with his or her readers on more levels. In regard to links being in stories — this is a revolutionary way to intertwine so many people/sources within one story. It’s hard to believe that the article by David G. was from 1997 as hyperlinks were far, far less common than nowadays.

    Hyperlinks can help journalist establish credability when their audience is reading a story. In reference to Briggs, he suggest that links can refer people who may be more knowledgeable on the subject than you and if you’re linking to them it shows you’ve done your homework and you realize where to get useful information and want to share it with your readers. Showing that you care is a ket factor in journalism.

    Crowdsourcing is good for all. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help whether it’s someone next you or the masses. Getting know people and all the information they can provide is vital in the world of journalism, especially in this day and age.

  10. All journalists today must adapt to crowdsourcing, open-source reporting, and pro-am journalism. As the video shows, crowdsourcing may seem uncomfortable toward people, but it is something that we all typically use on a daily basis- and that is through links.

    Whether e-mailing a link, retweeting a tweet, or sharing a post on Facebook, all of us are using links and are crowdsourcing the information around the web. To me, adding links to your story is a must. Not only does it add credibility, but it also shows your readers that you took the time to research what you are talking about. I love when I read news article and a ton of links are added into the story. As Briggs mention, search engines themselves are what we turn to find links and we keep going back. On my own blog, I have been trying to incorporate more and more links into my posts. As the reading mentioned, adding links could save your career and keep you away from violating copyright laws. Journalists should already be getting credible information and attributing it to begin with. If not, it just makes you look like you are pulling stuff out of your head.

    As Briggs states, “These new digital tools bring journalists closer to readers and readers closer to journalism by removing barriers to conversation.” And I find that to be very true. It is crucial for journalists to interact and build a good connection with their audience. Due to the fact the my blog is about citizen journalism, I really enjoyed reading the pro-am journalism section. I picked up several ideas in this part that I plan on incorporating into future blog posts. Who knew one of the first examples of citizen journalism started in South Korea?

  11. kmshire says:

    Briggs stated in this chapter “crowdsourcing harnesses a sustained power of community to improve a service or information base.” That’s a bit wordy, to sum up crowdsourcing in one word–“community.” The video gives the example of Wikipedia. One individual is not qualified to create an entire webpage dedicated to how, let’s say, to make a ship in a bottle. However, an individual can contribute their knowledge, along with the knowledge of others, to create the page. Using crowdsourcing is a good way to obtain knowledge for one’s own blog.
    Open sourcing is also a great tool when blogging. This tool allows journalist to call upon their audience to report a story. As journalist, we are expected to have every aspect of a story covered. This seems like an impossible task. However, calling upon our audiences is a valuable resource.
    Finally, linking–probably one of the most important facets of blogging. As a new blogger, linking as credibility to my writing. It allows my audience to fact check and find out additional information. Obviously linking can lead to copyright infringement and things of that nature, so this is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. However, when done responsibly and correctly, linking can be a very useful tool for blogs.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Can you link this a little more strongly to the readings or examples? You’ve got a number of Briggs’ terms – what are some concrete ways in which you’ve seen these at work?

  12. chadkriss55 says:

    From what it looks like, crowdsourcing is the best way to get the most accurate information. The main concern with crowdsourcing is understanding whether or not the person’s information is good or bad information. As Briggs mentioned, crowdsourcing is experimental with multiple successes (PIN) and failures (Spin.Us). If you have a situation like the video above and you go with only the little boy’s guess of an one-hundred pound oxen, then you’ll look like a fool. Just like the oxen situation, linking is really a form of crowdsourcing since a blogger uses other’s information to make his blog more informed or improperly informed if he uses little information. Even if a blogger sees invalid information, he also sees valid arguments from legitimate experts and uses his expertise to make himself appear smarter. Let’s be honest. We link to other people’s articles and push readers from our blogs because the other guy has better content in that area of expertise. It doesn’t mean we’re dumb. It means we are aware we need a lot of help on subjects we don’t fully understand. Linking and crowdsourcing helps the blogger become informed from bunches of people with pieces of information. With this, bloggers can place each piece in place so we can see the full puzzle put together.

  13. Collen Lewis says:

    In it’s purest form the internet is intended for the sharing of information, and linking is a simple way to accomplish this. This is why the internet was born, as we went over in class, the government began ensuring the security of information by keeping it spread to multiple hubs after the “threat” of Sputnik. Nowadays we have entire businesses that operate by providing the most relevant links to content, such as Google and Bing.

    However, the intent behind sharing information can have a huge effect on the cost or benefit to that information. As Bill Thompson mentioned with pirating, does simply linking to a site prove an intent to infringe on a copyright? In someways I do agree with him that a link is just a link, and unless a site does have illegal information on their own servers they should be safe. Just making the availability of information known should not be punishable.

    The online world is incredibly hard to restrain. David Post brought up the legal concerns of links in his article, but legality isn’t the only concern with links. Moral practice should be used when linking content; however, just as in journalism as long as something does not violate the law someone will always share information. This is why I don’t believe companies can determine where their information can or cannot be linked to. Unless the site where it is linked has defamed the origin of information everything is linkable.

  14. Crowdsourcing is something that we can utilize to help broaden our knowledge as well as build support for our arguments. Through crowdsourcing we as journalists are allowing readers to help find stories and gain information about them before we publish.

    Links are also a vital tool in our field. Without a link how can our readers know that what we have written isn’t some abstract idea that popped into our head and we feel is important. Links are the online version of a works cited page. By linking to sources we use we are allowing our readers to see where we get our information from and builds our credibility as writers. Briggs talks about how in the early days of the internet, sites were strictly against linking to other sites because of competition. Today, linking is vital! When reading the news online you will find many links that lead to a multitude of different sites. These sites help bolster the content of the article and let us see that other people are talking about the subject. So basically without links our writing lacks the depth that we have available to us due to the nature of the Internet.

  15. ctomes says:

    First off the video does a good job of showing that Crowdsourcing can be a very efficient way of learning something or broadening your knowledge on something. The video shows that if you have more people weighing in on something you will find the answer more quickly. Crowdsourcing is a huge part of journalism because like Briggs says its a important tool because now you can ask hundreds or even thousands of people to help you for an investigation or to collect data. Before you would have to do this on your own but now with the internet you can ask all these people and get an answer faster. This helps a journalist so they don’t have to take a survey they can just ask the question online and have their answers within minutes.

    Another great took for a writer is to use links. They are a way of showing that you are credible and also to show that the information you are writing isn’t made up in any way and there is a source. It is also a faster way of showing where you got something, it is quicker than making a work cited page and easier for the reader. Linking is also a way of getting people to see more of the information by them just clicking to your link they can learn more then what you have written. Linking is one of the most useful tools a journalist can use.

  16. lbarry2 says:

    I think that links are absolutely crucial to use in today’s forms of journalism. This is especially true when you are writing blogs.

    In blogs, I think links come in handy in a couple of different ways. First, having links to other reputable sources are very important because people like me aren’t reputable sources. So it only helps your credibility to include links, because the viewers of your blog can be assured that the facts and information you are writing about is credible with the simple click of a button. The second thing about links that I think are important is just the fact that people can click on them and have a better understanding of what you are talking about. With all of the ideas floating around in blogs, the convenience of just being able to click on a link helps a lot.

    This is why linking is just another form of crowdsourcing. Because you are linking your ideas to other people’s ideas to give your writing more credibility. They not only expand our own knowledge, they give you support to it. In conclusion, I thinking linking and crowdsourcing goes hand-in-hand when it comes to journalism and blogging.

  17. abdulazizq8 says:

    Using Links in blogging and other social media tools is an important way of communication. People tend to trust a writer who uses sources other than his personal opinion. Links are a great way to show them these sources and give credit to other writers. Writers can also discuss different topics and post their links in other blogs/sits for further discussion.

    Briggs mentioned another way of communication, which is open-source reporting. Writers can open their sites for feedback from the readers. Even if the writer does not get enough or any feedback from the audience, opening the door for feedback is a good way of communications.

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